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April 11, 2007

Lee Iacocca is One Cranky Old Man

And if you think I've been mean to Dubya, you should read this, in which Iacocca, who is (or was, at least) a lifelong Republican as far as I know, takes a hammer to our president. One wishes it were published, oh, three years ago, when it might have done some good, rather than now, here on the downslope of an already impressively downsloped administration. But you make do with what you have, and there is some pleasure in reading Iacocca run over Dubya with a nail-studded K-Car:

You can't be a leader if you don't have COMMON SENSE. I call this Charlie Beacham's rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford's zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie was a big Southerner, with a warm drawl, a huge smile, and a core of steel. Charlie used to tell me, "Remember, Lee, the only thing you've got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don't know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you'll never make it." George Bush doesn't have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know—Mr.they'll-welcome-us-as-liberators-no-child-left- behind-heck-of-a-job-Brownie-mission-accomplished Bush.

Mmmmm... horseshit dips.

Seriously, this is what it looks like when an 82-year-old man has a real live moment of catharsis. An 82-year-old man who is coming to kick your ass. I hope to be so stemwinding at that age.

Posted by john at April 11, 2007 03:40 PM

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Steve Buchheit | April 11, 2007 03:50 PM

Today's rumor is our President is looking for a Czar to run the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. First "Crusade" now a "Czar." Sure, it's spelled different, and that will make a big impression on radio and in the local gossip. Didn't anybody near the President not cut World History class?

Christian | April 11, 2007 04:09 PM

> a lifelong Republican as far as I know,
> takes a hammer to our president.

Actually, I think it was a jackhammer. Well done I say!

nisleib | April 11, 2007 04:17 PM

Many, many comments come to mind but three little words sum it all up:


If there is a god may he/she have pity on our souls.

PixelFish | April 11, 2007 04:26 PM

To be fair to Mr. Iacocca, if Wikipedia is correct, then he endorsed John Kerry and not Bush. But yeah, more blunt language three years ago might have been nice.

Still, good on him. I plan on sending this to certain Republican family members who still think George is doing God's work.

Tim Keating | April 11, 2007 04:29 PM

Man, Obama should pick Lee up as a running mate . . . imagine that ticket!

nisleib | April 11, 2007 04:42 PM

Obama and anyone would be great.

I don't want to offend anyone but just please people, no Hillary. Anyone but Hillary.

I guess I should look at the bright side - it can't get any worse than W.

(Unless Cheney runs and wins)

Jon R | April 11, 2007 04:48 PM

Damn, that was a good article....

Where IS the fire in my belly? Basically I'm just exhausted from this debacle.

Harry | April 11, 2007 04:48 PM

Mr. Iacocca, welcome to the no-fly list.

marciepooh1976 | April 11, 2007 04:53 PM

I can't believe I agree with Lee Iacocca. All nine of his "Cs" are right on the money, as well as his critic on the current government in relation to them.

nisleib - I suggested "Better than W" to my brother (he just turned 35) for a campaign strategy. But no good, just about anyone could use it. I also suggested: "I read!" and "I can speak English." Now we can add "I know horseshit from ice cream." to the list.

John H | April 11, 2007 05:11 PM

"That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices among Nations, it becomes the more unpardonable." -- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

Chang, for rizzle. | April 11, 2007 05:14 PM

Is there such a thing as too much too late? Where the fuck was Lee years ago?

Looks like my anti-swearing meds have worn off.

nisleib | April 11, 2007 05:24 PM

To marciepooh1976

Anyone could use "Better than W" I totally agree.

I seriously would have voted for a potted plant in 2004. I'm not even a Democrat!

How anyone, ANYONE, can listen to W speak and not feel shame I don't know.


Metal Fatigue | April 11, 2007 05:45 PM

nisleib: Eh...that particular mispronunciation of "nuclear" is fairly common in the middle of the country (from the Great Lakes down to [evidently] Texas).

I agree about Sen. Clinton, however. She might conceivably make a good President, but in the red states, and even among working-class Democrats, she's the Antichrist. Totally unelectable. In the past three decades, the Dems have shown a propensity for nominating unelectable candidates (Mondale, Dukakis, Gore); if they do it this time, I hate to think what the country will be like in four years when they get the chance to do it again.

John H | April 11, 2007 05:50 PM

Except Al Gore won the 2000 election. The Supreme Court overruled the will of the people...

nisleib | April 11, 2007 06:06 PM

To Metal Fatigue:

I live in Texas; nobody ever pronounces Nuclear like Bush does.

Nobody here talks about putting food on your children or questions "is our children learning" either.

Bush's lingual problems go way beyond a southern drawl.

Your right about the nomination process though. Honestly it's both parties, not just the D's that do it. Remember Dole? The process is such that the worst of the possible choices usually ends up winning in the primary. If, in 2000, it had either been McCain or Bradley I would have been happy either way. Instead we got Bush v Gore.

P.S. - I now know more about McCain than I used to, so I can't say I want to see him as President anymore, but still, in 2000 I was all for him.

Nathan | April 11, 2007 06:18 PM

RE: Nookyuler

The following is from the American Heritage Dictionary:

Usage Note: The pronunciation (nū'kyə-lər), which is generally considered incorrect, is an example of how a familiar phonological pattern can influence an unfamiliar one. The usual pronunciation of the final two syllables of this word is (-klē-ər), but this sequence of sounds is rare in English. Much more common is the similar sequence (-kyə-lər), which occurs in words like particular, circular, spectacular, and in many scientific words like molecular, ocular, and vascular.

Tim Walker | April 11, 2007 06:31 PM

nisleib wrote: "it can't get any worse than W."

Hail, fellow Texan. I'd like to join you in this sentiment, but by this point I ~never~ assume it can't get any worse.

Randy Johnson | April 11, 2007 06:46 PM

I'm a lifelong Republican(39 years since I became old enough to vote). But I grew weary of Dubya years ago, never supporting him or his policies. Although a Republican, I have two things that ilk don't like. A brain and an ability to reason.

cyperus_papyrus | April 11, 2007 06:52 PM

Thanks for pointing out the link, very interesting reading, and right on.

As for "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening?", obviously LI isn't out here on the internet reading the bloggers. :)

The bit about the media and their pom-poms had me ROFL. :)

David S. | April 11, 2007 07:03 PM

>I guess I should look at the bright side - it can't get any worse than W.
>(Unless Cheney runs and wins)

No need for the Dark Lord to run, all that's required is for W to fall off his mountain bike. That's why American politics is so damn *scary* nowadays (and not just for Americans unfortunately).

Adam Rakunas | April 11, 2007 07:11 PM

(Unless Cheney runs and wins)

I think the shriveled, blackened mass of veins and fibers that passes for his heart couldn't take the strain.

John H | April 11, 2007 07:16 PM

Nah, he had that removed years ago...

justme | April 11, 2007 08:08 PM

John H, you almost made me spit frozen yogurt.
Chang, Lee must have been having coffee with Gerald Ford, the king of too little too late.

I am unsatisfied with the Democratic front-runners, and am watching Bill Richardson quite intently.

clvrmnky | April 11, 2007 08:57 PM

Wasn't Iacocca one the guiding hands behind the push to get the Ford Pinto out the door so quickly, despite reports that the thing had a tendency to blow up when struck from behind?

Hey, I'm just asking! I'm glad when people learn from their mistakes, which is something that I doubt Americans will get from their current Glorious Faith-Based Leader.

gMike | April 11, 2007 09:28 PM

While it may be too little too late, at least he has the stones to tell it like it is. I don't see too many others on the national stage doing so. The extreme polarization that exists in this country has created a situation where anyone who speaks their mind is branded an extremeist. Frankly, I could use more of this type of "extremism", as long as the author speaks from the heart.

Steve Buchheit | April 11, 2007 10:23 PM

clvrmnky, Iacocca was Chrysler, he engineered what was (until then) the largest government bail out of a private business.

Cassie | April 11, 2007 11:02 PM

Has there been a bigger government bail-out of a private industry since the Chrysler one? I can't think of one, but it's not trivial enough to stick uselessly in my mind.

clvrmnky | April 11, 2007 11:12 PM


"The Pinto's design began in 1968 under the direction of Ford executive Lee Iacocca."

Iacocca was an auto exec who, like many, move around a bit.

There are the usual leaked memos floating around with his name on them, urging the safety and testing dudes to hurry the hell up so they could get the car out the door to compete with the import market which was /really/ starting to hurt sales.

Andrew | April 11, 2007 11:47 PM

The airlines as a whole might qualify.

MWT | April 12, 2007 12:03 AM

It appears to be an excerpt from a book. Maybe he did start writing it three years ago, but it took a while to get published?

Tania | April 12, 2007 12:36 AM

Cassie - I think Andrew is answering your question about other bailouts.

The post 9/11 airline industry bailout has had numbers in the range of $10B - $15B thrown around to describe what has been spent by the US Government.

Jim Wright | April 12, 2007 01:06 AM

...I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity...Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Goddamm! No way I could have said that any better.

Vox | April 12, 2007 02:29 AM

John, Lee Iacocca is a lifelong DEMOCRAT. You are to be envied for obviously never having read his amazingly bad autobiography, although if you ever get the chance to read PJ O'Rourke's review of it, you simply must.

"AFTER Lee Iacocca became president and then chairman of Chrysler, he began advocating a specific set of national initiatives. He became so closely associated with protectionism, participating in conferences as well as lobbying the government, that he was often mentioned as a Democratic presidential candidate in 1984."

Vox | April 12, 2007 02:32 AM

As for his personal voting, however, he is an equal opportunity offender. In the man's own words:

"Why am I writing a book at all? I'm a patriot. I think this country is screwed up royally, and I can't sit idly by while it goes to hell. We have to stand up and lead before we're taken over by the Chinese. Out of the past nine Presidents, I probably voted for five Republicans and four Democrats. A pox on both their houses. I could have run for President in 1988 as a Democrat-Independent, but I'm glad I didn't."

hirotami hirano | April 12, 2007 07:23 AM

I also lost my wife last month.
I read "Oldman's war" at a crematory.
Our marriage life was just so as in that.
I am looking forward to next publishing in japan.

John Scalzi | April 12, 2007 07:27 AM


I stand corrected; thanks.

Steve Buchheit | April 12, 2007 09:07 AM

clvrmnky, I sit corrected (I don't like typing while standing). My recollection of the Pinto fun was in the early eighties when Lee was already ensconced at Chrysler, I forgot the original design faults were implemented in the 70s.

Buck | April 12, 2007 09:44 AM

Wow- I'm glad I have my glasses on- all that invective may have singed my eyelashes off.

I'm glad Iacocca's pissed off, but I don't know if we've become so self-absorbed and jaded as a people to retreive our republic.

I always come back to the notion that the people of a democracy get the government they deserve. We've got a bad habit of hating everyone else's members of Congress for being corrupt and ineffective, but inevitably reelect our own.

Cassie | April 12, 2007 11:22 AM

Thank you Andrew and Tania.

mike Crichton | April 12, 2007 02:54 PM

Why Does Lee Iacocca Hate America?

Tim | April 12, 2007 03:01 PM

The government 'bailout' of Chrysler was in the form of guarantees against default for loans issued to Chrysler from private banks. Since Chrysler did not default on the loans, and in fact repaid them very quickly after it's turnaround, the 'bailout' never actually cost the government, or the average tax paper, a penny.

I don't know the situation with the airlines; however, I don't think there is any valid comparison between the two situations.

BigHank53 | April 13, 2007 04:38 PM

The savings and loan bailout was about 100x the size of the Chrysler deal. Also, none of that money ever got paid back, so it qualifies as being infinitely larger. I'd put our fifty billion dollar missile defense system into the bailout category too: since we told Boeing and Rockwell we'd pay for it without testing it, why go to the extra trouble of building interceptors that actually work?

Jon H | April 14, 2007 01:18 AM

"Seriously, this is what it looks like when an 82-year-old man has a real live moment of catharsis. An 82-year-old man who is coming to kick your ass."

It'd be that much sweeter, though, if the 82-year old saying it were Bush's father. Or, even better, his mother.

Ron | April 15, 2007 04:55 PM

First the Donald, Now Iacocca. Even the corporate titans hare turning against BushCo.

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